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The Importance of Hair in the Black Community

by Emery McClendon 11 Nov 2021
One thing non-Black people are not going to do is fully understand the complex and special relationship between us and our hair.
They’ll never know what it’s like to sit in a stranger’s home who braids your hair for what probably seems like a ridiculously long amount of time to those unfamiliar with protective styles.
They’ll never experience a wash day as a natural.
And they’ll never know what it’s like to possess the ability to switch up your hair as you please and keep people guessing what hairstyle you inevitably slay next. This is the beauty of Black hair.
We all have our own feelings towards our hair and our hair journey, but we can all agree that Black hair is beautiful and a unique part of the Black experience. Still, if you could use a reminder to recall why you should be proud of the crown on your head, here are a few reasons why hair is so important to our community:
Our hair is a connector.
As you read the opening statements of this blog, you probably related to a lot of them as someone with Black hair. It’s because we’ve gone through similar experiences that help bring us together.
Many of us know what it’s like to sit in a beauty salon or watch a hot comb heat up on the stove. These are unique experiences that instantaneously connect us to one another that we can bond over. And not only can we bond over these shared experiences, but getting your hair done can be a bonding experience, too! Isn’t it hard not to strike up a conversation with your hairstylist?
The next time you feel isolated because of the hair on your head, rest assured that millions of folks in your community understand exactly how you feel.
Our hair helps us carry on our culture.
The way we wear our hair now in braids, Bantu knots, and other natural styles isn’t anything new. We can trace many of the styles worn by Black people today back to our ancestors in Africa.
When African Americans were first taken into slavery, slaveholders cut off their normal modes of communication, and our ancestors were forced to improvise. They cleverly used the ways they wore their hair, namely cornrows, to relay messages and even to carry crops from their homeland.
So be proud when you wear your hair and know that a lot of hair skills and hair care information we know today were passed down from generation to generation all the way to you.
Our hair acts as a symbol of empowerment.
There was a time when African Americans were punished for displaying their hair. But as time marched on and Black people progressed, our hair became symbols of rebellion, freedom, and power.
Even today, when Black people are still discriminated against for wearing their natural hair in public, deciding to do so anyway is freeing. It feels great to wear your natural hair with confidence, knowing that back in the day, our ancestors had to fight for this right.
Our hair creates community.
Finding your fellow naturalistas or sisters with locs or whatever micro-Black-hair community you belong to is like finding your tribe. If there’s one thing about our hair, it’s that it’s bound to bring us together. We have our hair to thank for giving us so many spaces that we can be ourselves in, such as the barbershop and hair salon.
Our hair creates Black entrepreneurship.
Madam C. J. Walker, the first Black woman to become a self-made millionaire after creating her own hair care line, is one of the greatest examples of how our hair can create opportunities for the Black community.
No one knows our hair as we do. And while it’s easy to be dismayed by the lack of hair care brands or salons that cater to Black hair, one thing is for sure is that there’s room for Black entrepreneurs to create the products and services that we all need.
So whether it’s 4c hair care products, salons for curly-cuts only, or whatever the innovation is, there’s absolutely room for it in the Black community. And PHamiliy is one Black-owned hair care brand that’s already making waves by making haircare easy with their all-in-one PHamily Hair Care! Made for all hair types, colors, lengths, and textures, PHamily Hair Care is committed to creating hair products made for us, by us.
Learn more about our story here.
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